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Agreement between the OAS and UNESCO to reduce inequality in education

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November, 2016
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The OAS and UNESCO agreed to a new programme to strengthen and leverage the support provided to the countries of the region in the areas of inequality and education on October 18, 2016, in Santiago de Chile. The joint actions that will be carried-out by the two organizations are motivated by the existing inequality within, and between countries of the hemisphere; its impact on quality education, the retention and completion of the school cycle, and the levels of learning achievements.

The agreement includes the development of research activities aimed at the implementation of the Inter-American Education System (SIE), promoting South-South cooperation among countries, the exchange of good practices for strengthening the teaching profession and institutions; the creation of contents for the virtual platform of the SIE, and the rigorous monitoring of educational progress by countries of the region, with a view to the achievement of the 2030 Education Agenda.

The agreement responds to the challenges facing the region by 2030, where there are still millions of boys, girls, youth and adults that do not adequately benefit from the education systems, compounded by significant numbers of school drop-outs as well as problems in accomplishing meaningful learning achievements. This scenario is closely linked to inequality, present throughout the region, and affects the educational opportunities of individuals, especially those affected by poverty, from rural areas, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendents, and those with disabilities.

Jorge Sequeira, director of OREALC/UNESCO Santiago, indicated that “given the main objective of the SIE which is directed toward educational research, the development of effective public policies based on evidence, and in general, provide support to countries of the region for the implementation of the E2030 Agenda, UNESCO contributes to this agreement with all its high-level expertise and specialized technical tools for the formulation of education policies and practices with a view to improving the quality of education, from an integrated and inter-sectoral vision.”

Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, director of the Department of Social Inclusion of the Secretariat for Access to Rights and Equity of the Organization of American States, valued this alliance and cooperation opportunity as critical to the creation of the Inter-American Education System. Mrs. Muñoz-Pogossian also expressed that “the reduction of inequality in education will only be possible if we have a common agenda that complements the actions that are being undertaken at national, sub-regional and regional levels, giving priority to cooperation as the most effective mechanism to address this issue.”

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The Inter-American Education System was emerged as a result from the signing of a letter of intention at the VII Summits of the Americas (Panama, April 2015) amongst the Government of Colombia, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), the Organization of American States and the World Bank.

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